Am I over-emphasizing 1.0?

A developer wrote to me directly, and has given me permission to quote his email and my response. Since this is an issue I'm asked about every day, I will do so without editing, except (at his request) to mask his identity:

First, thank you much for all your work to help developers learn how to program Silverlight.  Thanks in advance for all that is yet to come.

This feedback is to express disappointment in Microsoft regarding the capabilities of Silverlight 1.0.  I'm getting tired of hearing that 1.0 is already capable of doing nearly everything one could want to do.  I know it can, because I've already used 1.0 for a client of mine.

But Microsoft has for years been boasting (correctly) how .net and Visual Studio make development quicker, easier, and with more maintainable code as well.  This becomes critical as an application gets more complex due to real-world needs vs. a very fancy demo. 

It is also why I believe Silverlight could easily outshine Flash/Astro/AIR for serious RIA.  So I'm getting tired of hearing, even from Microsoft employees, in so many words that the benefits of using .net in 1.1 are irrelevant.  I just want to express that there are other important reasons than just what is possible to do in 1.0, for anxiously awaiting to learn what is being planned for 1.1.

My unedited response follows…

I think you are completely correct. And I think we are very much aware that no matter how powerful 1.0 is, the community is anxiously awaiting the next version of Silverlight, for many good reasons, including the inclusion of the CLR, the ability to use managed code, tighter integration with Visual Studio, the availability of many drag and drop controls and so forth.

We know that it is imperative that we provide a list of what to expect and when to expect it, and we know that it is imperative that we get it right (the only thing worse than not telling folks when it is coming is to get it wrong).

I don't think there is anyone involved who doesn't want to get that information out as soon as possible, and speaking for myself I can say that my efforts to help folks see that 1.0 has a lot to offer is not a slight of hand to distract them from the fact that Silverlight will continue to evolve and improve (I certainly hope so!) but only to suggest that there is much that can be done with it right now; that there is no reason, per se, to wait for the next version before beginning to put it to work.

Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive: it is possible to put 1.0 to good use, while being eager and ready to move to the next version as soon as possible.


About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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